Medicinal, healing spices. I wonder what would happen to the idea of healthy food, as we know it today, without these essential gifts of nature?
Not many plants can boost the same amount of benefits in such concentrated amounts of these little gems.
These three spices, in particular, are my favourite, simply because they are versatile and easy to use in most recipes.
The passion behind my words is based on tons of evidence and research that transform these plants into true medicine.
Here some of it.
Turmeric, also known as Curcuma longa, is an ancient spice that has been used in Asia and especially in India for 2000 years. It is a very popular spice rich in beneficial properties.
Turmeric, or curcumin, its main medicinal compound, is a great source of iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, copper and potassium.
Anti inflammatory properties
The most powerful aspect of curcumin is its anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammation, as we know, is the basis of many conditions today, such as ulcerative colitis, arthritis, high cholesterol levels and chronic pain. The Oncogene newspaper published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that aspirin and ibuprofen compared to curcumin are less effective, while turmeric is one of the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds known.
Benefits of digestion
In another study on mice, curcuma was also used for its soothing properties on digestion and protective effects on the stomach mucosa [Link to study].
Curcumin has also been associated with the inhibition of endometrial cell growth by modulating oestrogen secretion [Link to study].
Photo by Dominik Martin on Unsplash
Ginger is one of the oldest and most widely used medicinal spices in the world.
This root is known not only for its digestive and anti-inflammatory properties, but it is also used to prevent colds, flu and nausea (if the fresh root flavour is too strong, you can try to use the powder instead of the fresh root).
This root also has strong antibacterial properties[Link to study] against metabolic acidosis.
Studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in fighting Escherichia coli, Staphylococcal and Candida albicans infections.
Anti-tumor properties, beneficial effects on vascular disorders, diabetes mellitus and gastrointestinal health
In addition, as noted in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine study titled “Anti-inflammatory Ginger Antioxidant Effects in Health and Physical Activity: An Up-to-Date Review of Evidence”, it is cited:
“Ginger anticancer potential is well-documented [Link to study] and its functional components such as gingerols and shogaols are the precious ingredients that can prevent different types of cancer, angiogenesis and metastasis, induction of apoptosis and inhibition of progression of the cell cycle. It also improves cardiovascular disorders, diabetes mellitus and gastrointestinal health. ”
Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash
Cinnamon is an incredible spice that has been used medicinally for thousands of years.
Besides its warming, characteristic taste, it is one of the spices with the highest content of antioxidants [Link to Study]
These compounds make cinnamon a special ingredient, but don’t take my word for it! Researchers have found that “The available in vitro and animal in vivo evidence suggests that cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antitumor, cardiovascular, cholesterol-lowering, and immunomodulatory effects”.[Link to Study]
Anti inflammtory properties
In this study it is observed the possibility that “cinnamon and its components may be useful in the treatment of age-related inflammatory conditions.”[Link to Study].
Natural anti viral
Amongst other precious properties that come from this healing spice are its immune boosting, natural antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral agent [Link to Study]
Anti diabetic effect
As mentioned in this study Cinnamon “does possess antihyperglycaemic properties and potential to reduce postprandial blood glucose levels. Further research is required to confirm a possible correlation between baseline FBG and blood glucose reduction and to assess the potential to reduce pathogenic diabetic complications with cinnamon supplementation [Link to Study].”
Did you know that there are different types of cinnamon and they contain different benefits too!
Cinnamonum zeylanicum or “true cinnamon”, contains lower levels of coumarin and it is the one associated with the most benefits.
Coumarin, in high doses has been associated to liver damage [Link to Study].
Feeling inspired? Why not head over to one of my spicy juice recipe, like my Turmeric Flu Shot, incredibly powerful and a must during this season :)!
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